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17 September, 2020

Report crime to police, not on social media

Local police are asking residents that if they believe a crime is being committed to report it to the police before reporting it on social media after a spate of false reports filled social media over the past few days.

By Phil Brandel

Local police are asking residents that if they believe a crime is being committed to report it to the police before reporting it on social media after a spate of reports filled social media over the past few days.

The plea comes after several recent social media posts in relation to a vehicle in the Riordan Street area of Mareeba on Wednesday, September 16.

Detectives from the Tableland’s Child Protection and Investigation Unit (CPIU) have conducted investigations into this incident. The vehicle and occupants have been identified and have assisted police with their investigation and it has been deemed non-suspicious.

Officer in Charge, Detective Sergeant Kearin Corcoran said posting a social media status with limited information, instead of contacting the police, is a worrying trend that must stop.

“Clearly, on face value, such a post is very alarming and a fear any parent can relate to. The genuine intentions of those who ‘share’ the information on their respective personal social media accounts cannot be disputed. However, if the initial post is not accurate, such a post can cause unnecessary alarm and anxiety,” Detective Sergeant Corcoran said.

“People post these issues online in good faith, but posting these issues on personal social media accounts is not an appropriate way to notify police. The longer someone takes to notify police of an incident, the longer it takes us to start properly investigating.

“We ask parents/carers to have a conversation with their children about safety when travelling anywhere without adult supervision. This needs to involve recognising signs of danger, reacting to danger and reporting matters to police and parents/carers.

“Police need to be provided with as much information as possible to help identify the vehicle and/or person/s such as registration numbers, distinguishing features including tattoos etc.

“When it concerns suspicious people or any kind of intelligence, it’s beneficial to the police to formally report the incident.

“If we’re getting second-hand information, more often than not, it’s not accurate. This then causes additional police inquiries to verify the information instead of focusing on accurate information and responding in a timely manner.

“The timeliness and accuracy of the information cannot be underestimated as these have the ability to delay and sometimes prevent police from taking enforcement action. Especially if police are acting on third-hand information.”

Detective Sergeant Corcoran said if the crime is currently happening, is life-threatening or there is a likelihood the suspected offenders are in the area to dial Triple Zero (000). He said if the incident is not an emergency to contact Policelink to report non-urgent crime or incidents.

“The appropriate course of action is that the person who is witness to the event or their parent, if the witness is a child, should notify police in a timely manner so the incident can be investigated and genuineness established,” Detective Sergeant Corcoran said.

However, he added that the QPS rely most on information being provided directly to police by members of the public to assist with investigations.

“When incidents are confirmed then we can use various strategies, such as Amber Alerts for child abduction or high risk missing children investigations.

“These strategies ensure we get accurate information out to the community in a timely manner to assist with facilitating the search and the safe recovery of an abducted child or high risk missing child.”

If a crime is happening now, life is threatened or when the incident is time critical then call Triple Zero (000).

If you have information for police, contact Policelink by providing information using the online suspicious activity form 24hrs per day at

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, via 24hrs per day.

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